icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

Monsters like Hitler & Ted Bundy are terrible, but it was people like them who protected the human race millions of years ago

Walter Block
Walter Block

American economist and libertarian theorist who holds the Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair in Economics at the J. A. Butt School of Business at Loyola University New Orleans, and is a senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, and is the author of two dozen books, including his most famous, Defending the Undefendable

American economist and libertarian theorist who holds the Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair in Economics at the J. A. Butt School of Business at Loyola University New Orleans, and is a senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, and is the author of two dozen books, including his most famous, Defending the Undefendable

Monsters like Hitler & Ted Bundy are terrible, but it was people like them who protected the human race millions of years ago
If human beings’ continuing capacity to inflict unspeakable evil on each other appalls you, it’s important to realize that it is a necessary legacy of the brutality that was required to survive the dangers of prehistoric times.

What did Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong and Pol Pot all have in common, besides the obvious fact that they were all mass murderers? Stuck? Need a hint? I’ll do better than that, I’ll give you the answer: they all had two arms, two legs, a head with the usual parts, body cavities with the normal complements of a heart, lungs, kidneys, spleen, etc. They had blood running through their veins like the rest of us. In short, they were human beings.

Now, consider the perpetrators of these mass shootings (and the number of deaths they were responsible for): Las Vegas, 2017 (58); Orlando Pulse nightclub, 2016 (49); Virginia Tech, 2007 (32); Sandy Hook Elementary School, 2012 (27); Sutherland Springs church, 2017 (26); Luby’s cafe, Killeen, 1991, (23); El Paso Walmart, 2019 (23); San Ysidro McDonald’s, 1984 (21); Stoneman Douglas High School, 2018 (17); University of Texas tower, 1966 (16). What do they all have in common, besides the obvious fact that they were all mass murderers? They were all our fellow homo sapiens.

The same description also applies to these famous destroyers of human life: Jack the Ripper, the Son of Sam, Jeffrey Dahmer, Harold Shipman, John Wayne Gacy, H.H. Holmes, Pedro Lopez, Ted Bundy, Albert Fish, Andrei Chikatilo and Timothy McVeigh. Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bombers, only murdered three people, but as a marathoner myself, I feel I must mention them in this rogues’ gallery.

Now, consider which species has invented these methods of torture? Blinding with light; boiling; bone-breaking; branding; castration; crucifixion; crushing; dehydration; denailing; disfigurement; drowning; flagellation, flaying; foot roasting; foot whipping (a.k.a. bastinado); force-feeding; garotting/strangling; genital mutilation; hamstringing; impalement; keelhauling; mutilation; oxygen deprivation; rape; rat torture; sawing; scalping; sleep deprivation; sound torture (at extremely high volumes); starvation; strappado; thumbscrew; tooth extraction and, just for good measure, waterboarding? You guessed it: human beings.

I don’t know how all this makes you feel, but it fairly sickens me. To think that these flesh and blood creatures, born of innocent parents, are so much like the rest of us, and, yet, have perpetrated these truly gargantuan evil deeds, makes me just about want to throw up. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suicidal. I didn’t do any of these things. But the thought that I am so much like these fiends, in so many mental and physical ways, is disquieting, to say the least, and all too often way worse than that.

How do I sleep at night in the face of such disgusting thoughts? How do I bring myself back from the precipice of misery, and give myself some vestige of peace of mind, given these resemblances I and all the rest of us have to these ogres? Let me share my thoughts on this, in the hope that adopting them may at least help some other people afflicted with these debilitating thoughts.

Millions of years ago, when we were in the trees or caves, we only had sticks and stones with which to defend ourselves against the lions, tigers, bears and other such creatures, who were way more physically powerful than we were. Our only hope of survival as a species lay in the hands of people, human beings, who were so enraged, so brutal, so vicious, that they could play an important role in defending us against these predators. 

Of course, even then, these prehistoric Hitlers and Stalins not only successfully fought off these other species, but also violated the rest of their fellows in myriad ways, just as their descendants do nowadays. Yet, they were necessary for human survival, at least in this scenario I have concocted. 

So, we have a choice. Which do we really prefer? The absence of all the horrendous people and torture methods mentioned above, and with them the disappearance of the entire human race, or the present-day, often very alarming state of affairs? I know not which path others will take but as for me, I’ll stand pat, thank you very much.

Thank God for the perpetuation of the human race, even at the cost of these moral monsters. My thought is that you can’t have one without the other. The modern-day murderers are the necessary result of their ancestors, who were crucial in fighting off the beasts of the field.

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Podcasts